Florida Regulations for Taxis vs. Ride Share App Companies
A consortium of Florida taxi companies and an Uber customer have filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for not testing measuring devices used by ride share app drivers with companies like Uber and Lyft the same we traditional taxi service meters are checked. Last week, the Tallahassee-based Andrews Law Firm filed a second lawsuit against the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles claiming the state doesn’t require app-based transportation services to carry proper liability insurance.
Governor Rick Scott recently made a statement indicating he’d back legislation in the 2016 state legislative session to better accommodate transportation services like Uber and Lyft. Meanwhile, on the local level, Florida municipalities have been grappling with how to address regulations for Uber and Lyft compared to rules for traditional taxi service providers. Palm Beach and Broward counties have taken steps to regulate Uber drivers the same way taxi drivers are regulated through background checks and insurance coverage requirements among others.
In Miami-Dade County, tickets totaling $2.72 million have been issued to ride share app service drivers as such operations are illegal there. Facing the threat that Uber would pull its services altogether and pressure from Uber drivers in the area, city of Sarasota Commissioners recently abandoned plans to regulate ride share app transportation services and instead voted to strip regulations on taxicabs. These lawsuits and discrepancies in regulations have led some to call for state-wide rules on the operation of companies like Uber and Lyft. Should drivers of ride share app transportation services be held to the same standards as taxi drivers? We’ll explore both sides.
Suzanne Atwell, Vice Mayor and Commissioner at Large for the City of Sarasota
Ronald L. Book, Lawyer & Lobbyist on behalf of the Florida Taxicab Association
Roger Chapin, Vice President of Public Affairs for Mears Transportation Group/ Florida Taxicab Association Board Member
State Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, State House District 52 and an Uber Driver